First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays: Meet Giselle Herrera

IMG_7881Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been working at First County Bank since April 2017. I am Peruvian, and came to this country 11 years ago. I currently study Finance at UCONN and I love cooking and reading.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
I love the ability to help customers with their transactions and questions. Every day I try my best to make customers happy. I believe that we should always treat people the way we want to be treated.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
Customers frequently ask for their balance history

What is your favorite fall/autumn activity?
I really enjoy long walks during autumn, this is my favorite season of the year; I love the color of the trees.

What is your favorite part of the holidays?
During the holidays I really enjoy spending time with my family. I usually cook for the holidays. Having my loved ones at my dinner table is priceless. My favorite holiday is Christmas, I feel like a kid again!

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment was when I opened an account for a customer for the first time. I was a little nervous but everything went very well.

Bank News

Dave Zamary of First County Bank Named to New England Mortgage Bankers Conference 2017 Hall of Fame

We are pleased to announce that Dave Zamary, senior vice president, Residential Mortgage Origination, was inducted into the New England Mortgage Bankers Conference (NEMBC) 2017 Hall of Fame at the September 14 awards celebration, held at Gurney’s of Newport, Newport, RI.

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Dave Zamary, senior vice president, Residential Mortgage Originations, First County Bank was awarded the NEMBC Hall of Fame 2017 Award by Kevin Moran, president of the Connecticut Mortgage Banker’s Association and senior vice president, division sales manager, Retail Mortgage Lending at Webster Bank.

“I am so privileged to become an NEMBC Hall of Famer. Getting recognition from my peers in the mortgage banking industry is such an honor,” said Dave Zamary. “I truly enjoy recommending the best solutions for borrowers and guiding them through the loan process to get the home of their dreams. It’s such a pleasure to be recognized for something I am passionate about.”

The NEMBC Hall of Fame is the highest peer-to-peer honor for New England mortgage professionals. Individuals are recognized based on their outstanding contributions to mortgage banking in New England and their spirit of excellence in their profession. Dave Zamary is one of 13 inductees in 2017. He was recognized for his contribution to the mortgage industry and for his active membership in the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association (CMBA), where he served as president from 2013-2016.

“We are delighted Dave was recognized by the NEMBC for his accomplishments in the mortgage banking industry and service to our community,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., Chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “It is especially an honor for him to be recognized by his peers. Dave is a valued member of our Residential Mortgage Originations team and has been with the Bank for the past 30 years.”

Trends & Tips

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Internet of Things

shutterstock_418009015 [Converted]As consumers buy more smart watches, activity trackers, holographic headsets, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the need for improved security on these devices will become more pressing. Online criminals could exploit these new devices to conduct data breaches, corporate or government espionage, and damage critical infrastructure like electrical grids.

  1. Don’t connect your devices unless you need to.   The first step is to consider what functionality you need from the device. Just because your TV or fridge can connect to the internet, doesn’t mean you definitely want to hook it up. Take a good look at the features it offers and learn exactly what internet connectivity brings before you connect.
  2. Create a separate network.  Many Wi-Fi routers support guest networking so that visitors can connect to your network without gaining access to shared files or networked devices. This kind of separation also works well for IoT devices that have questionable security.
  3. Pick good passwords and a different password for every device.  It’s very important to pick strong passwords, but you must also make sure that you pick a different password for every device. If a hacker manages to get one of your passwords, they will typically try it with other services and devices. Reusing passwords is not a good idea. Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.
  4. Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Sadly, UPnP can make routers, printers, cameras and other devices vulnerable to attack. It’s designed to make it easier to network devices without configuration by helping them automatically discover each other. The problem is that hackers can also potentially discover them from beyond your local network because of vulnerabilities in the UPnP protocol. Is best to turn UPnP off completely.
  5. Make sure you have the latest firmware.  If you want to make sure you have the latest security patches and reduce the chances of a successful attack, then you need to keep your firmware fully updated. Vulnerabilities and exploits will be fixed as they emerge, so your IoT devices and your router need to be regularly updated. Automate this wherever possible or set a schedule to check for updates every three months or so.
  6. Be wary of cloud services.  A lot of IoT devices rely on cloud services, but the requirement for an internet connection in order for something to function can be a real problem. Not only will it not work when the network is down, but it may also be syncing sensitive data or offering another potential route into your home. Make sure you read up on the provider’s privacy policy and look for reassurances about encryption and data protection.
  7. Keep personal devices out of the workplace.  Don’t take your personal IoT devices to work. There are lots of potential security concerns for wearables. Every enterprise should have a clear BYOD policy, and it’s often a good idea to prohibit personal IoT devices from connecting to the network, or at least limit them to a guest network.
  8. Track and assess devices.  Businesses need to track everything connected to the network and monitor the flow of traffic. Devices need to be assessed to determine the level of access they should have, to keep them fully patched and up to date, and to protect data end-to-end to preserve its integrity. Unknown devices should flag an alert. Understanding which devices are connected and what they’re doing is a prerequisite for proper security.

If you enjoyed these tips and want to learn more about Fraud Prevention & Safety visit our website by clicking here or visit: http://firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection.

First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays: Meet Ricky Arriaga

IMG_7761Meet Ricky Arriaga, Teller at the First County Bank West Main Street, Stamford Branch located at 1980 West Main Street in this edition of #FrontlineFridays.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been working for First County Bank for 2 years now. I grew up and currently live in Stamford. I enjoy watching sports mostly football and basketball, I also love listening to music and traveling to new places when I go on vacation.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part about my role with the Bank is meeting new customers and helping people with their banking needs and learning and growing every day.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most frequent question I receive from the customers is if I can help them get set up with our online banking.

What is your favorite fall/autumn activity?
My favorite fall activity would have to be playing pickup football with friends and catching up with people I haven’t seen in a long time. My favorite holiday is Halloween, going out and dressing up in crazy costumes is a lot of fun.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment was when I made my very first credit card sale; the customer was approved for $3,000.00 line of credit. It was my favorite moment because it was exciting and motivating, and it encouraged me to keep working harder.

 

Trends & Tips

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Mobile Banking Precautions

cybersecurity-mobileMobile banking offers account access with the same tight security measures as the full desktop websites counterpart. By following these steps, it is possible to make things much harder for criminals and to significantly lower your safety risks:

  1. Always use a pin or gesture code to lock mobile devices. If a physical device falls into the hands of a criminal, the first thing they should be faced with is security, particularly where access to finances and other data is concerned.
  2. Only use official routes to communicate with financial institutions.   Ensuring users stick to the official ways of contacting and receiving information from their banks is key. Mobile banking shouldn’t dramatically change the way banks communicate, so ignoring links to sites in emails requesting details, unusual texts or other messages, is advice worth noting when using a smartphone as it is when using a desktop PC, tablet or  laptop.
  3. Be aware of connection services.  Public Wi-Fi is far easier to ‘sniff’ for data than mobile data connections provided by a network operator. Unless the user is 100% sure of the security, or trust the connection on offer, think twice about dealing with personal finances over it.  Installing trusted security software, like Norton Mobile Security or Norton Tablet Security, will help prevent malware – the cybercriminal’s number one tool – from logging keystrokes or gaining access to a device. It can also scan emails to provide support in avoiding phishing attacks seeking bank account information.
  4. Be careful what you download.  It’s possible that mobile banking sessions could come under threat from code carried by other applications downloaded. While security software can scan for threats on a device, be aware of information entered onto a device and try to stick to well -regarded or official sources of applications or content.
  5. Read the fine print. Does your financial institution’s app allow you to delete all banking-related messages, pictures and other data saved on the phone? Can you disable the feature that automatically signs you in to your online bank account the minute your phone is turned on? Once connected to your account, will the app automatically disconnect after a certain period of inactivity?
  6. Set up your phone to encrypt data. Make sure your phone has an application to encrypt all stored data. Then, use it to protect sensitive messages from your financial institution and pictures of valid checks.  Photos of checks and other sensitive banking data may be stored on your phone’s memory expansion card. Even if the phone itself is secured with encryption, the card probably is not. Note that older phones may not have enough power to run encryption software.
  7. Download anti-virus software and enable firewall protection for your cell phone. Make sure to update it regularly.
  8. Never respond to email messages from your bank that request personal information. Banks or Credit Unions never ask for this information by email. Mark it as spam, and delete it. Next, delete all your cached content (sent messages, received messages, etc.) on a regular basis. Finally, check your browser security settings to help filter out phishing emails.
  9. Be skeptical about text messages. Before opening a text that appears to be from your bank, and especially before hitting “reply,” call your financial institution first to make sure the message is actually from them.

If you enjoyed these tips and want to learn more about Fraud Prevention & Safety visit our website by clicking here or visit: http://firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection.

First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays: Meet Lily Alvarez Angeles

IMG_7740Meet Lily Alvarez Angeles, Teller at the First County Bank Prospect Street Branch located at 117 Prospect Street in this edition of #FrontlineFridays.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a simple person, who believes in God. I am fully convinced that God is good and that He acts every day in my family’s life. I am a wife and a mom who takes care of her family as best as possible. I have two children, Gerardo, 20, who is a junior at UCONN Stamford and Analily, 9, who just started 3rd grade at a school in Stamford.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
What I like most about my job at First County Bank is helping customers, treating them with joy and a smile, and listening and motivating them to have a beautiful day. I love to meet customers from different places around the world. The Bank is perfect to meet a lot of people who think and act differently; as we have a diverse community.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most frequent question I get from customers is “what is the balance in my checking account?”

What is your favorite thing to do during the fall?
My favorite activity in autumn is to go to the park with my children.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment was when I was preparing a speech about my experience as a woman, new to this wonderful country, for the Women’s Mentoring Network.  The speech was read last year at a celebration for First County Bank Foundation’s 15th Anniversary. The best part was having the Prospect Street Branch help me perfect my speech. Our branch manager, Edens, was so over joyed with the collaboration of the speech that he bought us all lunch.

Trends & Tips

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Data Breach Advice

cybersecurityicon-2Did you recently get a notice that says your personal information was exposed in a data breach? Did you lose your wallet? Or learn that an online account was hacked? Depending on what information was lost, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.

  • Be extra careful about emails and attachments.  Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails that claim to be updates from any company connected to a data breach. Learn More.
  • Use Two-factor authentication.  Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. When you have to enter only your username and one password, that’s considered a single-factor authentication. 2FA requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account. Learn More.
  • Check your Credit Cards accounts often.Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to credit card security—and it’s easy. You can do it online or by phone. If your credit card issuer offers email or text alerts about unusual activity, sign up to receive them.
  • Monitor credit reports. Check your credit report for any accounts that crooks may have opened in your name. Credit reports are available for free, from each of the three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — every 12 months. Some monitoring services and credit card companies now allow you unlimited access to credit information, so you could theoretically check every day.
  • Know what to do if you suspect credit card fraud. Call the bank or financial institution that issued your card immediately. Your issuer may want to cancel your current card and issue you a new one. Check with your issuer to verify that your mailing address has not been changed.

If you enjoyed these tips and want to learn more about Fraud Prevention & Safety visit our website by clicking here or visit: http://firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection.

First County Bank Profile

#FrontlineFridays: Meet Wayne Eber

wayneeberMeet Wayne Eber, Customer Service Representative at the First County Bank North Stamford Branch located at 1042 High Ridge Road in this edition of #FrontlineFridays.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent my early life in the suburb of Northbrook – which was known at the time for Olympic skaters. My father was a research chemist and we relocated several times in my adolescence. Consequently, I attended three different high schools and graduated from Catholic High for Boys in Memphis, Tennessee.

I went on to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle for a year. I then attended Norwalk Community College, and finally got my college degree with a concentration in Business from Charter Oak College in Connecticut in 1988.

I’ve worked for several banks but my best experience has been with First County Bank. This January will be my 24th year here.

I also enjoy singing and have been working for many years with a group, “Marie’s Circle of Singers”. On occasion we perform in nursing homes.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part of my role at First County Bank is the customer contact and ability to offer first class service to our customers. They have certainly become family through all these years.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most frequent question I receive is, “How many years have you been with the Bank?”

What is your favorite thing to do during the fall?
My favorite activity is traveling through the Northeast to experience the beauty of the fall foliage. My travels have largely taken me through New York State, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
I remember cruising on the Long Island Sound around the Norwalk Islands with my co-workers in the early days of when I began working for the Bank. I really enjoy my co-workers and getting to know their families, attending their weddings, etc.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Celebrate World Teacher’s Day

World Teacher’s Day was established October 5th, 1994. World Teacher’s Day commemorates the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) actions of setting international standards for teacher organizations. The standards set by UNESCO help to recognize the great contributions teachers make to their students through education and development.

Ms. Kuehn Big Check

We also recognize the great contributions that teachers make in our community, which is why we developed the FirstClass Grant for Teachers. Through this program, we hope to help fund creative educational programs for teachers inside the classroom. You too can show your appreciation of teachers by spreading the word about this opportunity. For more information or to apply for the FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers, click here or visit: http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

Trends & Tips

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

cybersecuritytalkingpointsOctober is annually celebrated at National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This is a great time for you to take a step back and assess your or your organizations efforts as it relates to cybersecurity. Throughout the month we plan on sharing tips that you can use to stay secure online.

For more information on National Cybersecurity Awareness Month you can search the hashtag #NCSAM or you can visit our eFraud Prevention & Safety section of our website by clicking here or visiting: http://firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection.